Filipino, 10 others killed in Lunar New Year mass shooting in California


A 63-year-old Filipino-American was among the nearly a dozen casualties of a mass shooting incident at a Lunar New Year celebration in California, USA.

In a statement, Deputy Consul General Ambrosio Enciso III of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles confirmed the death of Valentino Alvero, an American citizen of Filipino descent, in a shooting rampage at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California.

Enciso expressed “shock and great sadness” over the mass shooting incident that took place in Monterey Park, California late on the night of 21 January.

“Our prayers go out to the families of the victims and we mourn with them during this lunar New Year festival, which is supposed to be a time of gathering and celebration,” the statement read.

The consulate general also said it is ready to assist the family of Alvero should they reach out for any help.

Meanwhile, the consulate general called on the Filipino community to “exercise all caution and continue being vigilant during these uncertain times”.

It asked Filipinos to always monitor the whereabouts of their loved ones and report any suspicious activities to local law enforcement.

‘A loving father, dedicated son’

In a separate statement, the family of Alvero reminded the public that he is “more than just a headline or a news story”.

The Alvero family described Valentino as “a loving father, a dedicated son, and brother, a grandfather who loved his three granddaughters fiercely, an uncle who loved his nieces and nephews like his own.”

“He loved people and hearing about their lives and in return, he shared his own stories with so much gusto and enthusiasm that you couldn’t help but listen and laugh along with him,” it said.

“He loved ballroom dancing, he loved his community, and was the life of any party,” it added.

The family also sends their deepest condolences to the other victims and their families who have had to endure what they called a “heart-shattering and life-altering tragedy”.

“We hope that we all continue to look out for each other, may kindness and grace find us in the dark days ahead. Our hearts are with you,” it said.

“Overnight, we became unwilling members of a community who has to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to gun violence. We are left frustrated, stuck with this vicious cycle,” it added.

The family also requested prayers as well as Masses or rosaries for the repose of Valentino’s soul, whom they said did not receive last rites.

“He was a devout Catholic and our family would like to request all priests and Catholics to pray for him by name, Valentino Marcos Alvero. Please offer up any Masses or rosaries you can for the repose of his soul,” it said.

“Pray for Valentino by name, and for the souls of all victims of mass shootings and for an end to mass shootings in our nation and the world,” it added.

‘Other victims’

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office identified Huu Can Tran, 72, as the lone suspect in the Saturday night that killed at least 11 people.

In a press briefing, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Tran, who was also confirmed dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, used a semi-automatic pistol for his shooting rampage.

Authorities said the suspect went to Monterey Park on Saturday night and shot people about an hour after a large Lunar New Year festival in the area.

He then drove to another nearby dance studio to shoot more people, but failed after an employee wrestled a modified 9 mm submachine gun-style semi-automatic weapon away from him.

The employee who prevented Tran from killing more people was later revealed as Brandon Tsay, who was later lauded for his “heroic actions”.

Hours later, Tran shot himself dead after police found his white van.

Law enforcement officials said they served a search warrant at Tran’s home and recovered a .308 caliber rifle and numerous electronic devices, which they believed he manufactured at home.

The gunman had been previously arrested for illegally possessing a firearm.

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